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Daily Changes in Fed Funds Futures Prices


This paper explores the properties of daily changes in the prices for near-term fed funds futures contracts. The paper finds these contracts to be excellent predictors of the fed funds rate, and shows that the claim of a nonzero term premium in the short-horizon contracts is more sensitive to outliers than previous research appears to have recognized. I find some statistically significant evidence of serial correlation in the daily changes, but this accounts for only a tiny part of the 1-day movements and there is essentially zero predictability for horizons longer than 1 day. Settlement futures prices for each day appear to incorporate the information embodied in that day's term structure of longer-horizon Treasury securities. Previous employment growth makes a statistically significant contribution to predicting futures price changes, though again this could only account for a tiny part of the daily variance. The paper concludes that futures prices provide a very useful measure of the daily changes in the market's expectation of near-term changes in Fed policy. Copyright (c) 2009 The Ohio State University.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 41 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 567-582

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:4:p:567-582
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  1. Nelson, Daniel B, 1991. "Conditional Heteroskedasticity in Asset Returns: A New Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-70, March.
  2. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. John B. Carlson & Ben Craig & Patrick Higgins & William R. Melick, 2006. "FOMC communications and the predictability of near-term policy decisions," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jun.
  4. Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2000. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: evidence from the Fed funds futures markets," Staff Reports 99, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1996. "Do measures of monetary policy in a VAR make sense?," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2006. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Working Paper Series 2006-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. James D. Hamilton, 2008. "Daily Monetary Policy Shocks and the Delayed Response of New Home Sales," NBER Working Papers 14223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  9. Andrew Harvey (ed.), 1994. "Time Series," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 599, March.
  10. Monika Piazzesi & Eric Swanson, 2004. "Futures Prices as Risk-adjusted Forecasts of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 10547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2004. "Do actions speak louder than words? the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. William Poole & Robert H. Rasche, 2000. "Perfecting the market's knowledge of monetary policy," Working Papers 2000-010, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  13. Joel T. Krueger & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1996. "The Fed funds futures rate as a predictor of federal reserve policy," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 865-879, December.
  14. Brian Sack, 2004. "Extracting the Expected Path of Monetary Policy From Futures Rates," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 733-754, 08.
  15. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
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